Counting seams on a baseball from 100 yards away…
“HOGWASH… They can’t…” That is the answer I always get when I ask “knowledgeable baseball people” how baseball announcers can call a pitch – every pitch – from a press box “a football field” away from Home Plate.
“A football field away” is 100 yards for those of you with degrees in “jock academics”.
There are 108 stitches on a baseball. Ted Williams and George Brett among others were reputed to be able to “count them” as they came at them at 90 mph from 60’6” away. I believe they could “see them” but not count them.
I realize that play-by-play guys and their sidekicks have TV monitors in front of them but I still don’t believe they can “call a pitch” before the sound of said pitch hitting the catcher’s mitt has reached their booth.
MAYBE a big looping Bert Blyleven curve a/k/a “an Uncle Charlie” versus a Hoyt Wilhelm knuckler… maybe. Or a knuckler or a change-up versus Nolan Ryan’s high heat… maybe.
Now days they want us to believe they can immediately detect “a two-seamer” versus “a cutter” versus “a backdoor slider”… from “a football field away”. Hogwash!
Is there any difference between “a cutter”… “a two-seamer”… and “a nickel defense”? Was there a difference between Milli and Vanilli? Are you sure?
Does it matter if they are “just guessing”? Not to me. Whether the batter hit it or what the ump called it is all that matters.
That said. Proclaiming “Mariano Rivera just threw a slider” is about as risky as saying “CNN just lied”. In his last ten years, Mariano only threw sliders. CNN is just as predictable these days.
“They” have to say something. If they are not pretending to “call pitches” they might wander aimlessly into remarking on the pulchritude of female fans ala Brent Musberger.
That leads immediately to sexual harassment charges and/or an Andy Warhol 15-minutes of fame for a skanky Florida State skank or an Alabama QB’s girlfriend.
No one has yet filed suit over confusing a “cutter” with a “two seamer”. But don’t bet it won’t happen someday.
I once had the honor of sitting with the legendary Clyde King as he scouted the KC Royals for his Yankees back in 1977. He was watching something about ten levels deeper than I was.
Clyde could predict pitches by how the pitcher’s forearm was turned as he held the ball in his glove… or how the catcher was positioned. At least he said he could. ???
I have to fight hard to avoid becoming terminally jaded and cynical in these perilous times. Truth in 2017 is whatever one wants it to be.
If I can’t believe Clyde King, I can’t believe anybody. Clyde King was Top Three “Finest Men in The History of Mankind”. Clyde King passed away seven years ago. Quite possibly that leaves nobody to believe since I don’t know the other two.
Did Cy Young throw “a two-seamer”? Cy Young pitched in 906 games over 22 yrs. He won 511 of them but… he never won “a Cy Young Award”.
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